Muninn’s Keep, by Brian C. Austin (Word Alive Press, 2010)
“A fabled ring,
Ruthless enemies bent
All challenge Theodoric
to the utmost.”
Theodoric doesn’t know who he is, how he came to be a thræl (slave), or what he did to earn the brand of “thief” and the name “horse-killer”. Muninn’s Keep is the story of his fight for survival and identity.
Canadian author Brian C. Austin has crafted a richly-detailed historical novel set in Britain, just north of Hadrian’s Wall, late in the 9th century. The landscape and culture come alive as we read of legends, battles and pagan rituals.
Theodoric is an appealing narrator, with an innocence and a strong sense of justice—and an unbroken spirit that earns his master’s wrath. Mystery surrounds him, in his shattered memory and in the scraps of prophecy that may refer to him.
Central to the story is the finding and re-establishing an abandoned fortress, Muninn’s Keep—and the finding of the ancient Ring of Thorvæld.
Connected with the Keep is a grove formerly used to offer blood sacrifices to the pagan god, Woden. Theodoric longs for a god worthy of worship, one who doesn’t need human tricks to gain followers.
Stories of one they call Christus, and a parchment of the prophet Isaiah, give direction to his search despite the character of the one servant of the Christus he meets.
Muninn’s Keep reveals a harsh world where battles and suffering are part of daily life, but where a few courageous and true characters can make a difference in the lives of those around them. Fans of historical fiction from this era, be they adult or teen, Christian or non, will find this a good read.
I thoroughly enjoyed the novel, and for me it had that epic, sweeping feel I find mostly in fantasy novels. After such a realistic visit to the past, I’m extra thankful to be living in the relative safety of the present.
Muninn’s Keep is Brian Austin’s first novel, and I hope there’s a sequel in the works. You can read the first three chapters of Muninn’s Keep here. The book is written at an adult reading level, and is suitable for Christians and non-Christians alike.
Brian is also the author of the poetry collections Laughter and Tears, Let Heaven Weep, and I, Barabbas.
You can learn more about Brian and his various projects at his website, Undiscovered Treasures.